“The beginning is the most important part of the work” - Plato
Plato could just as well have been talking about business and customer relationships. When your customers choose your product to get their work done, the beginning of their journey is critical to ensure they are:
It costs businesses around 5 to 25 times less to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. This makes it critical to make the customer’s first experience with you count and getting customer onboarding is the only way to do that.
Customer onboarding, however, is rarely a single step. It’s a journey in itself—with multiple stages, milestones, touchpoints, and stakeholders. The key to making it effective and efficient is in ensuring that the process is smooth and standardized. This is where customer onboarding templates can help you—not just in streamlining the process, but also in ensuring a consistent and delightful customer experience—from start to finish.
In this article, we share templates and resources for each stage of the customer onboarding journey.
An effective handoff ensures that your CS team:
The document for this stage should be designed to capture the key information that the sales team collects during their initial meetings. This should include the customer’s expectations, any noteworthy aspects of the interaction so far, their goals, and the key decision-makers, influencers, and members involved in the project from start to finish.
Check out our detailed guide on creating effective sales to customer success handoffs and our customizable template for Sales-to-CS handoffs.
After gathering all the context you need from the handoff, it’s time to drill down to the specifics of the project, its goals, scope, and details of implementation.
The two documents critical at this stage are:
An SOW is a comprehensive, legally binding document that lays down the details of various aspects of work agreed upon by you and your customer. Besides building trust and alignment with your customer, it helps streamline the future stages by:
Check out our customizable Statement of Work Template to get started.
Looking to design your own SOW? Check out our post on how to write an effective Statement of Work.
A project charter is a brief document summarizing and highlighting critical information regarding the project such as the objectives, scope, stakeholders, etc. It differs from the SOW in that it’s more tactical and formalizes/initiates a project.
Created after the SOW, an approved project charter serves to formalize the project and authorize the usage of project resources. It's one of the most important documents to ensure that stakeholders and project members are held accountable throughout the project’s course.
Kickoff typically marks the end of the planning phase in the project lifecycle and the start of the execution phase.
A well-designed kickoff needs to show customers what’s ahead, the steps and stops on the way, and when and how you’ll help them get there.
Besides identifying any potential blind spots, hurdles, and risks, the project kickoff is the best time to foster strong team morale and excitement around the project. Check out this post on the specifics of a project kickoff and our ready-to-use project kickoff meeting template.
Besides careful planning, another key ingredient in successful projects is efficient and transparent communication. A communication plan ensures that stakeholders stay updated on the progress of the project at all stages, and should be designed to enable collaboration, status updates, and feedback collection.
If you’re looking to develop your own communication plan, we’ve compiled a guide for streamlined project communication that you might find useful. Or, you could use our customizable project communication plan template.
A resource tracker helps you understand how team members are assigned and utilized during a project. This is critical for customer onboarding considering the number of stages and tasks each onboarding project contains, and the fact that team members often handle multiple such projects at the same time.
Done right, a resource tracking tool gives you a 30000 feet view into all your resource needs, availability, and allocation so you can:
There are far too many moving parts for you to consider when it comes to implementing a customer onboarding project. We have put together a comprehensive guide to nailing your customer project delivery that lays out the ten steps you must follow in your project delivery process.
Status updates are a key component of the project delivery process. A status report is the most effective tool you can use to keep your customers and internal team updated on your project’s multiple moving parts.
Use this free, customizable Project Status report template to get started right away
Go-live is arguably the most critical milestone in any customer onboarding project since it marks the end of a series of activities—typically spanning months—starting from requirement gathering and project planning through execution/implementation to testing and training.
Successful go-lives are the result of effective planning, clear communication, streamlined implementation, timely risk consideration, and action. Here’s a free go-live checklist template that covers all these bases to make sure your go-live is effective.
If you’re looking to develop or tweak your customer onboarding methodology, we’ve developed a 20-point customer onboarding checklist that serves as a great starting point. It covers all aspects of customer onboarding—from project goals, scoping, and methodology to change management, stakeholder management, documentation, and communication.
We've also put together customizable samples of customer onboarding plan templates for small, medium, and enterprise businesses.
If you’re looking to move away from templates for different stages of onboarding to templatizing all your customer onboarding journeys by planning, running, and tracking them from one place, try Rocketlane.
Designed for visibility, consistency, collaboration, and productivity, Rocketlane’s unified workspace gives you visibility across projects and customers while ensuring standardized and consistently delightful customer experiences across all your customer onboarding projects.
Book a demo now.